COVID-19 vaccines cut risk of severe infection, Scotland study shows 

Scotland’s vaccination drive appears to be markedly reducing the risk of hospitalisation for COVID-19, suggesting that both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca shots are highly effective in preventing severe infections, preliminary study findings showed on Monday.

Results of the study covering the entire Scottish population of 5.4 million showed that by the fourth week after the initial dose, the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines cut the risk of hospitalisation by up to 85 per cent and 94 per cent respectively.

“These results are very encouraging and have given us great reasons to be optimistic for the future,” said Aziz Sheikh, a professor at the University of Edinburgh who co-led the study.

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Sheikh cautioned that the results are preliminary and have yet to be peer-reviewed by independent scientists, but told a media briefing: “I am very encouraged. We now have national evidence … that vaccination provides protection against COVID-19 hospitalisations.”

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He expected other countries using the same vaccines and similar roll-out strategies – such as England and Wales – would see a similar positive impact in reducing numbers being hospitalised.

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